An Airthings sensor may be the catalyst to a happier/healthier life by providing you peace of mind in these uncanny times.
According to the Airthings website, “We spend 90% of our time indoors.” Due to the SARS-COV-2 virus and self-isolation protocols, these numbers may now be grossly underestimated. We have been spending so much of our time breathing indoor air, without the knowledge of contents, quality, or potential pollutants. Those with basements likely know about Radon and the potential dangers of the odorless, colorless, tasteless gas. However, many may not know that their headaches, allergy symptoms (nasal irritation, eye irritation, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing), breathing symptoms (pneumonia/bronchitis), or skin symptoms may be caused by substances around them. To learn more about the quality of your room, consider adding an Airthings Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor.
The AIRTHINGS Wave Mini Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor arrived in a 4 1/8 inches square by 1 7/8 inches thick retail package. The clean white cover served as the perfect background for the blue AIRTHINGS title, the “Wave Mini” product name, the centralized image of the device, a small iPhone icon, and three blue feature icons (TVOC, HUMIDITY, and TEMP). The main focal point was the white 2 1/8 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches tall image of the battery-operated device along the middle of the cover. The top panel provided several UPC barcodes, some legalese copyright information, and provided icons for Alexa/Google Assistant connectivity. The front panel provided several of the typical product manufacturing labels, an SKU code, and App Store icons. The yellow-colored left and right side panels provided several details about the device. The compact and easy to use device can sample the air for chemical pollutants, can evaluate the quality of the air, the humidity, and the temperature, to give you an idea of the overall air freshness. Without breaking the bank, you can place the triple air sensor atop a tabletop or mount it to your wall. The packaging did a great job of detailing what to expect within the box.
I opened the lid of the box, removed the ten-panel instruction manual, the 4.76-ounce, 3 1/8 inch diameter air sensor, and a small plastic clip-on base. I loved the use of the mountaineer, the yellow on white color scheme, and the overall layout of the instruction manual. Press the base of the Airthings sensor into the back of the sensor and then gently pull backward to release the magnetic attachment. To start, remove the back of the sensor, pull the plastic pull tab from the batteries, and then download the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play store. Open the App, choose to allow/disallow notifications, and then cycle through the seven educational panels. The second panel showed a hexagonal diagram of TVOC, CO2, humidity, temperature, pressure, radon, with a centralized lung. The third panel discussed the dangers of radon, while the fourth discussed CO2 levels and volatile organic compounds (TVOC). The fifth panel discussed the wave feature of the device and the ability to wave your hand in front of the sensor to see if the quality is good (green), warning (yellow), or danger (red). The sixth panel discussed the need to let the sensor rest for seven days to allow it to learn/adjust to the environment. The last panel provided a link to learn more information about the type/quality of sensors within the Airthings sensors.
Once you get to the end of the educational panels, you will arrive at the main App screen. For a first time user, select “Sign Up” along the bottom of the panel, and then enter your name, email address, and a password/confirmation. The app will send an email with a verification code, which will need to be entered into the App. Complete the sign-in process, allow Bluetooth communications, and then select “Add Device.” The setup process proved to be quick and effortless. Once the pairing process was completed, I was able to name the device (Living Room, Bedroom, Basement, Kitchen, Office, Custom). To test the device, I chose to place it next to my radon tester in my basement. The APP setup suggested that the Air quality monitor could include a Radon sensor. However, the relatively inexpensive, $79.99 entry-level air-sensing device, only detects TVOC, humidity, and temperature. For the second step, I chose “Home” as the location of the sensor (Home, Workplace, Cabin, Vacation Home, Custom). The next step asked me to share the location of the device with Airthings. For the sake of my privacy, I chose not to share the location. With the above steps completed, I tapped “Add Device” and waited nearly sixty seconds for the device to complete the updating cycle. Once the device was paired with the app, placed into the desired location, I waited for the seven day learning period to conclude.
On day seven, I swiped my hand in front of the sensor and saw a yellow light. I was quite interested to learn more about the room, so I navigated to the App. Similar to the yellow light on the device, the App had a yellow rim above the phrase “Air Quality is Average.” Beneath this section, I found the TVOC to be 67%, humidity to be 62%, and the temperature to be 67 degrees. If you tap one of the numbers, the App will take you to a secondary panel detailing the parameters over 48 hours, 1 week, 1 month, and 1 year. As an example, the average TVOC was listed at 56. When I tapped the number, I saw an average of 94 ppb TVOC for the last 48 hours, 121 ppb for the last 1 week, and 132 ppb for the last 1 month. Looking at the App further, I was able to evaluate the peaks and troughs of the parameter. You can tap the “What are the TVOCS?” and it will take you to an educational panel detailing the TVOC, short/long term consequences of exposure to TVOC, and examples of TVOCs (Candles/Fires, Fragrances, cooking fumes, new furniture, cleaning products, craft products, children’s toys, paints and varnishes, The App did not tell me what types of TVOC the room had been exposed to but it did show me how to understand the total TVOC: 0-250 ppb = low, 250-2000 ppb = look for sources if this average is over a month, >2000 ppb = high TVOC and to consider taking action/ventilating the area. I discussed this information with my wife and she noted that the peaks likely meshed with a new glade plugin, a new candle that she burned, and a several hour house cleaning jamboree.
I returned to the main panel and noted the humidity average to be 62%, which was higher than the recommended humidity for a room. I noted the yellow dot next to the word humidity and tapped the number. Similar to the TVOC from above, the app took me to a second panel, which detailed the 48 hour average 63%, the week average 57%, the monthly average of 50%, and the year average (not able to calculate due to duration of the test). Unlike the TVOC educational panel, the App did not provide any links to humidity resources. Returning to the main panel, the temperature average over the last 48 hours was 67 degrees. I found that the basement averaged 65-68 degrees over the last week. Pleased with overall temperature and TVOC values, I was a little discouraged about the 63% humidity. Since mold can flourish at humidity levels >60%, I have talked with my wife about the possibility of getting a dehumidifier to improve the quality of the room. I will also leave the sensor for another few weeks to see how the values change with time. With so much rain lately, I suspect the ground surrounding my walkout basement is saturated and the walls have absorbed moisture.
Knowing more about the environment may lead to improved quality of life for you and the items around you. I was pleased to find minimal radon by one sensor, but found the humidity to be too high on the Airthings Wave Mini. If the readings do not improve, I may have to spend $150-$300 on a device to absorb moisture from the air. Even though this seems like a negative point, the $300 may prevent damage to my other electronics or to the health of myself or my family. I look forward to testing the quality of the air over the next 30-60 days and I may move the sensor to a few other places in the same room. Perhaps, different zones within the basement have different humidity readings. I loved that the device was small, inconspicuous, and easy to use. The design allowed for a good deal of customization through desk placement or by mounting it to the wall. The App was easily navigable and the information was clearly visible. Parts of the instruction manual/App setup may be a little too generic/universal and may lead someone to think that the device had radon sensing capabilities. The Airthings website, the wave mini manual, and packaging cover showed only TVOC/Humidity/Temperature capabilities. However, the App detailed the capabilities of several of the Airthings Sensors. At $79.99, the Airthings Mini provided more information than I expected about my air quality. Armed with this information, I loved that I could swipe my hand in front of the device, at any time, to quickly understand my surroundings. I would rate my overall experience with the device at 4-5/5 stars.